The ontological politics of (in-)equality : a new research approach for post-development

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-667
Journal / PublicationThird World Quarterly
Issue number4
Online published18 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


This article aims to add a new line of research to the post-development school of thought. Drawing on the many evident yet rarely noticed parallels between post-development and (post-)anarchism, I develop an understanding of ‘anarchistic post-development’ as a politics based on what French philosopher Jacques Rancière calls ‘the presupposition of equality’. I further connect this with Arturo Escobar and Marisol De la Cadena’s concept of political ontology, suggesting that we can make sense of and analyse both contemporary ‘Development’ projects as well as anarchistic post-developmental ‘alternatives to Development’ through the lens of what I call ‘the ontological politics of (in-)equality’. To substantiate my points, I will draw on the recent case of a Mâori tribe who won a historical legal battle to declare the Whanganui River a living entity.

Research Area(s)

  • anarchism, environmental policy, Neoliberalisation, participation and power, post-development, poverty and inequality